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Glenn Hegar  ·  Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Non-Salary Payments
Lump Sum Payment of Accrued Vacation Time

Eligibility for State Employees

State employees are entitled to be paid for the accrued balance of their vacation time if:

  • The employee resigns, is dismissed or otherwise separates from state employment,
  • The employee has accrued six months of continuous state employment at any time during the employee’s lifetime, and
  • The employee is not reemployed by the state in a position under which the employee accrues vacation leave during the 30-day period following the effective date of the employee’s separation from state employment. This does not apply to state employees who were employed by an institution of higher education at the time of separation from the state.

State employees who hold at least two positions and separate from one that accrues vacation time are entitled and eligible to be paid only for the vacation time credited to the position from which the employee separates.

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Eligibility for State Employees of Institutions of Higher Education

A state employee who has accrued six months of continuous state employment at any time during the employee’s lifetime, and who resigns, is dismissed or otherwise separates from state employment by an institution of higher education, is entitled to be paid for the accrued balance of the employee’s vacation time as of the date of separation.

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Individuals Not Entitled and Not Eligible to Receive Payment

An employee is not entitled and is not eligible to receive a lump sum payment of accrued vacation time if the employee at the time of separation from state employment:

  • Held an office normally filled by vote of the people.
  • Was an independent contractor or an employee of an independent contractor.
  • Was an operator of equipment or driver of a team whose wages were included in the rental paid by a state agency to the owner of the equipment or team.
  • Was employed on a piecework basis.
  • Was covered by the Judicial Retirement System of Texas Plan One or Judicial Retirement System of Texas Plan Two.
  • Was covered by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, unless the individual was a classified, administrative, faculty or professional employee of a state institution or agency of higher education who accumulated vacation leave during the employment or was employed by the:
    • Teacher Retirement System of Texas,
    • Texas Education Agency,
    • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board,
    • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired,
    • Texas School for the Deaf,
    • Texas Juvenile Justice Department,
    • Windham School District, or
    • Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS).

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Separation from State Employment

A separation from state employment includes a separation in which a state employee:

  • Leaves one state agency to begin working for another state agency, if the effective date of the employee’s employment at the second state agency is at least 31 days after the effective date of the employee’s termination at the first state agency.
  • Moves from a position in a state agency that accrues vacation time to a position in that agency that does not accrue vacation time, if the agency agrees to pay the employee for the accrued balance of the employee’s vacation time.
  • Moves from a position in a state agency that accrues vacation time to a position in another agency that does not accrue vacation time, if the other state agency refuses to credit the employee for the balance of the employee’s vacation time as of the date of the move.
  • Moves from a position in a state agency that does not accrue vacation time to a position in another state agency that does not accrue vacation time, if the other state agency is not authorized or refuses to credit the employee for the balance of the employee’s vacation time as of the date of the move.
  • Holds at least two positions and separates from one that accrues vacation time, if the agency agrees to pay the employee for the accrued balance of the employee’s vacation time.
  • Retires while a contributing member of the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS).

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Responsibility for Making the Lump Sum Payment

The state agency that employed a state employee immediately before the employee separated from state employment is responsible for making the lump sum payment of vacation time to the employee.

This responsibility exists even if the employee, immediately before separation, was employed by the agency in a position that did not accrue vacation time.

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Computation of the Lump Sum Payment

If a state employee’s accrued vacation time is allocated over only one month, the amount of a lump sum payment for that time is equal to the product of:

  • The number of hours of the accrued vacation time, and
  • The applicable hourly rate of employee compensation.

If a state employee’s accrued vacation time is allocated over more than one month, the amount of a lump sum payment for that time is equal to the sum of the amounts attributed to each month included in the allocation.

Allocation of lump sum payment

The balance of a state employee’s accrued vacation time must be allocated over the workdays following the effective date and time of the employee’s separation from state employment until the accrued vacation time is completely allocated.

State or national holidays

Eight hours must be added to the employee's accrued vacation time for each state or national holiday that occurs during the period over which the time is allocated. For part-time employees, the appropriate portion of eight hours must be added.

The exception to this requirement is that if an employee is separated because of moving from a position in a state agency that accrues vacation time to a position in that agency that does not accrue vacation or by moving from a position in a state agency that accrues vacation time to a position in another state agency that does not accrue, if the other state agency refuses to credit the employee for the balance, then the agency making the payment may not include any state or national holidays in the calculation of lump sum payment of unused vacation time.

Part-time employees

Part-time employees are paid a lump sum as a percentage of 40 hours the employee is scheduled to work each week on the date of separation.

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Rate of Compensation

A state employee’s rate of compensation includes base pay, plus any emolument or stipend provided as a salary supplement in lieu of base pay.

A special item of compensation (such as housing, utilities, clothing and cleaning) may not be included in the employee’s rate of compensation, unless it was provided in lieu of base pay.

The amount of Benefit Replacement Pay included must be determined in accordance with requirements of the Comptroller’s office.

Neither longevity pay nor hazardous duty pay may be included in the employee’s rate of compensation.

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Applicable Hourly Rate of Compensation

An employee’s rate of compensation must be expressed as an hourly rate for each month or part of a month included in the allocation of the employee’s accrued vacation time.

The hourly rate of compensation for a particular month is calculated by dividing monthly salary by the number of working hours in a month.

The number of working hours in a month will vary from month to month, depending on the number of workdays in the month for a Monday-through-Friday 40-hour-per-week employee.

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Agreement to Remain on the Payroll

A payment of accrued vacation time to a state employee must be made in a lump sum, unless the employee is remaining on the payroll to exhaust that time.

A state agency and a state employee may mutually agree for the employee to remain on the agency’s payroll to exhaust that time instead of receiving the lump sum payment. The employee may not use sick leave or accrue sick leave or vacation time while remaining on the payroll.

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Payroll Detail

The payroll detail submitted with a payroll voucher to make a lump sum payment for accrued vacation time to a state employee must include the:

  • Employee’s rate of pay on the effective date of separation from state employment;
  • Effective date of separation from state employment; and
  • Number of days and hours of accrued vacation time, not including hours for authorized national and state holidays.

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Appropriation Year Determination

A state agency must charge a lump sum payment of accrued vacation time to an appropriation that may be used to pay compensation.

The payment must be charged to the appropriation year in which the state employee’s separation from state employment becomes effective.

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Tax and Retirement Withholding from Payments

A lump sum payment of accrued vacation time is subject to federal income tax withholding and withholding under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). The lump sum payment is not subject to deductions for:

  • Employee retirement contributions to the Optional Retirement Program or the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and
  • Employee contributions to ERS.

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Examples of Computation of Lump Sum Payment of Accrued Vacation Time

Example 1:

1. Because the employee’s vacation time balance is sufficient to pay for the entire month of July, no computation of a dollar amount is necessary for that month. The employee receives an entire month’s salary for that month ($2,374.00).

2. The number of working hours in July is subtracted from the employee’s beginning vacation time balance. Eight hours is not added to that balance as the July 4th national holiday falls on a weekend.

3. August involves payment for a partial month because the number of vacation time hours carried forward to August is less than the number of working hours in August. Therefore, compute an hourly rate of pay to multiply against the vacation time balance carried forward from July.

4. The agency must add eight hours to the employee’s vacation time balance for each holiday that occurs during the period over which the balance is allocated, but only if the holiday occurs in August and on a workday. The holiday is included in this calculation.

5. The amount paid to the employee for vacation time allocated in August 2009 is:

$14.13095/hour x 160 hours = $2,260.95

6. Total Gross Lump Sum:

July: $2,374.00
August: $2,260.95
Total Gross: $4634.95

Example 2:

1. The employee is entitled to be paid for the Memorial Day holiday that occurs on May 25, 2009, and will receive payment for that holiday on their final regular paycheck. Therefore, the holiday does not affect the calculation of the lump sum payment.

2. The employee’s vacation time balance is allocated over three workdays in May. Therefore, compute an hourly rate of pay for May to multiply against the vacation time balance allocated to May:

3. The amount paid to the employee for vacation time allocated in May 2009 is:

$8.69643/hour x 24 hours = $208.71

4. The number of working hours in May used to compute the amount of the vacation time payment for May is subtracted from the employee’s beginning vacation time balance.

5. June involves payment for a partial month because the number of vacation time hours carried forward to June is less than the number of working hours in June. Therefore, compute an hourly rate of pay to multiply against the vacation time balance carried forward from May.

6. The agency must add eight hours to the employee’s vacation time balance for each holiday that occurs during the period over which the balance is allocated, but only if the holiday occurs in June and on a workday. There is one holiday in June 2009, which falls after the allocation period and therefore is not added to the employee’s time. The vacation hours to be allocated in June 2009 = 92.

7. The amount paid to the employee for vacation time allocated in June 2009 is:

$8.30114/hour x 92 hours = $763.70

8. Total Gross Lump Sum:

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Definitions

Continuous state employment
Employment with the state not interrupted by a period when a state employee is not being paid a regular state salary. The period when an employee is on leave without pay (LWOP) or leave of absence without pay is not an interruption that would require the period of continuous state employment to begin again. A leave period, however, that covers one or more entire calendar months does not count toward fulfilling the six month requirement.
State employee
  • Full-time and part-time employees or officers,
  • Hourly employees,
  • Temporary employees,
  • Employees of the:
    • Teacher Retirement System of Texas,
    • Texas Education Agency,
    • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board,
    • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired,
    • Texas School for the Deaf,
    • Texas Juvenile Justice Department,
    • Windham School District, or
    • DARS.
  • A classified, administrative, faculty, or professional employee of a state institution or agency of higher education.
Workday – Any day except:
  • Saturday,
  • Sunday,
  • A state holiday, or
  • A national holiday.

Sources

Texas Government Code Annotated, Sections 661.061-661.067, 661.091-661.094.

Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Questions? Contact statewide.accounting@cpa.texas.gov
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